(HER WORLD) - When you think of Cambodia, the first thing that comes to mind is Angkor Wat, or her beautiful temples. Beyond these familiar grounds, lies untouched villages, colonial architectures and enchanting seaside towns. When I was told about a little province called Kep, or Krong Kaeb, little did I know it is located just a few kilometres from the border of Vietnam, and is now Cambodia’s standing coastal beauty.
Flying to Kep is simply easy: a flight from Singapore is a little under two hours towards Phnom Penh. From the airport, it just takes two hours via a private transport.
The sleepy town of Kep was founded for the French elite in 1908, but fell hard during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 70s. It was then, many of the colonial French villas and buildings were ruined, and her luster was dimmed. However recently, Kep has seen many changes with the appreciation for the renaissance culture, with many of the architecture and villas being restored by private hoteliers.
One of it is Knai Bang Chatt, an exclusive lifestyle resort, which is a completely remodeled home turned villa, expanded with 18 spacious guestrooms and suites.
Located on the south coast of Kep, the sea-view hotel was designed by students of the father of New Khmer Architecture, architect Vann Molyvann, who was known as "the man who built Cambodia".
It’s here that you leave the hustle and bustle city lifestyle behind, and immerse yourself in the simplest of activities, like visiting the nearby salt fields, pepper plantation and market, where you can purchase fresh crabs for dinner. There’s also a Sailing Club close by, where you can partake in non-motorised activities, and sign up for day trips. For a slower pace of life, the hotel also provides yoga classes in the morning as well as meditation classes in the evening. For foodies, there are cooking classes available to whet your appetite too.
What we also like is that the hotel is a proud supporter of the Hand in Hand Cambodia project, and working closely with the members of the ChamcarBei community, where they provide fair employment to about 3,000 local villagers and make sustainable improvements to the education, health and livelihood opportunities.
This beach destination is perfect for short weekend trips, with just a mere 4 hours to reach its sandy beaches and laidback vibe. Still, as one of those less known populated destinations, Kep is becoming Cambodia’s best-kept secret to visit in The Kingdom of Wonder.
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